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Drone information stall in Wrexham: report and photos

25-10-2012 14:53

As the RAF announces that it is doubling the number of armed Reaper Drones it operates in Afghanistan and serious questions are being raised about British involvement in drone warfare, including at the High Court in London, Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum held an information stall today to raise public awareness of the issues.

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Badger Cull delayed until next Summer

25-10-2012 12:09

Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Release October 23rd 2012

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We are Borjan, Sardar Wali and Khan Bibi

25-10-2012 06:19

Children under attack in Pakistan and Afghanistan

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Drone wars info stall Wrexham Thu / demo at RAF Waddington Lincs Fri

24-10-2012 21:07

RAF Reaper armed UAV (drone)

This week, the issue of drone warfare has reached the High Courts (and the mainstream media) in both the UK [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] and Pakistan; the UK is about to double its fleet of armed drones and begin to operate the new drones from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire; and more people have been killed and injured in another drone attack in Pakistan.

Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum will have an information stall on drones outside Wrexham Library on Thursday 25 October between 11.45am and 1.15pm.

There will be a demonstration at RAF Waddington main gates between 12 noon and 2pm on Friday 26 October called by Drone Wars UK. This will take place as the RAF holds a ceremony to 'stand-up' its new drones squadron, 13 Squadron.

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South Africa: Clean energy protest lands activists in jail

24-10-2012 14:44

BOBBY Peek, former Wentworth resident, was among the 14 environmental activist arrested yesterday, October 23 while protesting at the Eskom Megawatt Park in Johannesburg.

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Sheffield Students' Union votes to support boycott of Israel

24-10-2012 14:08

Sheffield University Students' Union has passed a motion to join the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

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International Appeal for Delta Squat & anarchist immigrant Gustavo Quiroga

24-10-2012 12:48

Thessaloniki, Greece, urgent appeal for international support with delta squat and imprisoned anarchist immigrant Gustavo Quiroga

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International Actionday 14th of November

24-10-2012 11:57

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House Of Commons Committee Accepts Evidence

24-10-2012 10:55

Yesterday the House of Commons Select Committee on Communities and Local government accepted a memorandum form the Loose Anti Opencast Network as written evidence for its Housing Planning and Growth Inquiry. The press release below highlights why LAON wants tougher rules about the siting of future opencast mines as argued in the submission. The press release also provides a link to the submitted document.




LAON PR2012 -10                                                                         18/10/12

Yesterday, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee published the written evidence put to it by various organisations in preparation for the oral evidence session held on Monday 15th October, including evidence from the Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON)  as item PHM 40 (1)

In its submission, LAON said

“Without strengthening rather than weakening safeguards against new opencast coal applications, this issue of planning applications for future opencast mines will continue to be the itch in the English planning system that will not go away. LAON maintain that there is already a fundamental incompatibility between protecting the level of amenity citizens should enjoy and the existing level of intrusion into that enjoyment already allowed, without sanctioning even greater levels of intrusion and loss of amenity”. 

The Committee had asked for comments on the effect of implementing further changes to planning policy outlined by Eric Pickles in a written statement on September 6th. In making its response, LAON highlighted the following inequalities already experienced by English people who had legitimate grounds for opposing new opencast applications

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->In Scotland and Wales no site should normally be within 500m of where people live. In England, no similar protection exists, so now people can live as close to 17m of a working site.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->The recent ‘Localism Act’ excluded mineral planning from its remit – the Act which was meant to bring power over land use decisions closer to the people affected by changes in land use.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->That the recent revision of planning policy resulting in the National Planning Policy Framework has shown evidence of a further erosion of safeguards meant to protect communities from unwarranted levels of intrusion as indicated in the recent Halton Lea Gate Opencast decision.

In addition, LAON has responded to four of the questions posed by the Select Committee. In answer to suggestions that the planning process be speeded up LOAN says that delays are sometimes caused by the applicant.

“The issue here may be more to do with the poor quality of the initial submission rather than the ‘bureaucratic delays’ often cited as the cause.”

The group is not at all in favour of the successful applicant being able to revise the community benefits attached to the gaining of planning permission.

Nor is LAON in favour of the suggestion that the power to take mineral planning decisions, including those for new opencast mines, away from Local Authorities and be give them either to the Planning Inspectorate to decide or treated treat them as Infrastructure Projects. Rather it argues that such decisions should, in the first instance, be left to Local Authorities. In addition LAON make the following point.

“If the Government wants to speed up the planning decision making process for mineral planning applications, it should not give the applicant unlimited amounts of time to respond to valid objections. The onus should be on the applicant submitting an application of sufficient quality in the first instance and not using the system to allow valid objections to become means by which the quality of the application can be improved.”

LAON is also concerned that these proposed changes to centralise decision making will result in such large complex applications not being given the scrutiny they deserve by local people who know the area. Because of the cost implications, it may well deter local people and local authorities from rigorously vetting such proposals and lodging legitimate objections. In the long run this may, LAON believe, result in poorer quality applications both being submitted and accepted which then risk greater environmental damage.

As a consequence LAON concludes that

“For these reasons LAON has reached the conclusion that if the proposals announced on the 6th September were approved for determining mineral planning applications that they would have a very severe and detrimental impact on people. They may also contribute to lower quality mineral applications being approved that would have a detrimental environmental impact.”

Steve Leary, LAON’s Co-ordinator and the author of the submission said

“Excuse the pun, but this is a burning issue for communities up and down the shallow coalfields of England. We link up groups in Northumberland, Co Durham, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Walsall. They are all witness to the issue of opencast mining being an actual or real threat on their doorstep. The injustice they experience by being denied the same degree of protection which is enjoyed by their fellow compatriots in Scotland and Wales makes them feel like second class citizens in their own country.

Yet increasingly, they know that if the industry is not stopped by a revision of the English planning system, then as long as coal is deemed to be a mineral of national importance for power generation purposes, new applications are going to get ever closer to where people live. This is the conclusion to be drawn from the evidence in our submission, in which we state how much of that surface mineable coal , up to 97%, is to be found within 500m of where people live.  That is 500m tonnes of coal.

However there have been recent announcements about power stations, such as Didcot closing and others such as Drax and Tilbury being all or partly converted to burn biomass instead of coal. In addition Ironbridge and Lynmouth power stations are being considered for conversion as well. We believe that this decline in coal burning capacity in the power stations must lead to a decline in the demand for coal and lesson our need for coal in the future. This raises questions about the status of coal in the planning system and whether it should still be considered a mineral for which there is a national need. We need that view revised, as well as the gaining the greater degree of protection afforded by the implementation of the 500m Buffer Zone policy.

Steve Leary will be speaking further on this issue to the Hilltop Action Group at their Public Meeting on the proposed Hilltop Opencast Mine development at the Clay Cross Social Club tomorrow at 7.30pm in Clay Cross.



<!--[if !supportLists]-->1)   <!--[endif]-->Communities and Local Government Committee,  Planning Housing and Growth Inquiry, Written Evidence as at 15/10/12: PMH 40 The Loose Anti Opencast Network @



About LAON

The Loose Anti-Opencast Network (LAON) has been in existence since 2009. It functions as a medium through which to oppose open cast mine applications. At present LAON links individuals and groups in N Ireland (Just Say No to Lignite), Scotland (Coal Action Scotland), Wales (Green Valleys Alliance, The Merthyr Tydfil Anti Opencast Campaign), England, (Coal Action Network), Northumberland, (Whittonstall Action Group, Halton Lea Gate Residents)) Co Durham (Pont Valley Network), Leeds, Sheffield (Cowley Residents Action Group), Kirklees, (Skelmansthorpe Action Group)  Nottinghamshire (Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition), Derbyshire (West Hallum Environment Group, Smalley Action Group and Hilltop Action Group) , Leicestershire (Minorca Opencast Protest Group) and Walsall (Alumwell Action Group).

Contacting LAON

Steve Leary Co-ordinator, LAON  at

You can now follow LAON on Twitter @






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Taylor's Theme

24-10-2012 09:10

Danny Kroonen Music
Matt Taylor, the unofficial Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, has released an election campaign theme song, composed and arranged by Dutch born Danny Kroonen.

Danny Kroonen from Dordrecht, Holland, also composed music to accompany Roy Grace, the fictional character from Peter James's famous novel crime series.

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Shroukie's family LATEST: coach blocked for 5 hours, fingers crossed ...

24-10-2012 08:46

cedars "family pre-departure accommodation"
UKBA tried to deport the Saleh family on a privately listed (charter) flight at 8AM, unknown airport. Friends and supporters tried to block the coach taking them out of Cedars family prison. A massive police operation (more than 50 police vehicles counted) got them through. We hope not in time for the flight ...

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EDL Misery Continues!

24-10-2012 07:03

It's begging bowl time for the recently incarcerated Mr Tommy of the EDL!

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Climate Hacking: Geoengineering the Ocean

24-10-2012 06:18

Serial climate hacker Russ George (Planktos) leads indigenous villagers to dump iron into the sea - a secret geoengineering project off Canada's West Coast. Press conference statements by the Haida Old Massett Village Chief, interview w. Living Oceans' Karen Wristen, Russ George clips from interview by Guardian's Martin Lukacs.

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BBC Cesspit – Its not just about Savile

24-10-2012 02:55

This campaign has consistently stated that the BBC’s interest in Hollie’s abuse and Anne had been managed, manipulated and spiked.

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George Square: the right to protest removed

24-10-2012 02:55

  • Glasgow City Council and Strathclyde police plan to ban rallies gathering in George Square
  • New plans for legislation intended to stamp out 'unauthorised processions'
  • Public meeting called in response


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The Earth Needs Rebels

24-10-2012 00:19


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Free Internet Book: "The World Crisis and Beyond," 182 pp

23-10-2012 18:45

Once the source of hope, the US is often a source of fear. Closing most of the 700+ bases would be a step from empire to republic. Security is a political and social challenge, not only a military project. Development should be a right, not only a hope and a promise. The future should be open and dynamic, not closed and static where the poor are forgotten (cf. J.Moltmann, C.Johnson, E.Hobsbawm)

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Matt Taylor declares himself an unofficial PCC candidate

23-10-2012 17:56

Guerrilla Democracy
I'm introducing a new concept into politics called Guerrilla Democracy. I am always pushing the boundaries and will continue to do so. I want voters to exercise their democratic right to spoil their ballot papers by writing SOS on them

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Tamil death flight LATEST: lots of people off flight, news still coming in ...

23-10-2012 16:06

UKBA did not try to get a deportation coach past protestors at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook migration prisons today. News is coming in of many successful injunctions throughout the day (no number confirmed yet) to get individuals off the flight. However some may have flown from other detention centres.

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"Vigil for Iran"

23-10-2012 15:10

Peace Strike petition to No 10 Downing Street.
We build this campaign in solidarity with the people of the Middle East. The desire to create peace is the objective, with the aim of preventing an attack on Iran.

Weekly Vigil at Parliament Square, London SW1A OAA